The Star Tribune featured an article today on the work done by Vanessa Sheridan to end discrimination in the workplace against transgenders. A transgender woman herself, Sheridan is a leading authority on the topic. Two of her three books have been nominated for Lambda literary awards, including her most recent, The Complete Guide to Transgender in the Workplace (2009). Sheridan leads workshops and provides talks to help employers update their nondiscrimination policies and create welcoming environments for their transgender workers.
Sheridan's work is important. According to a recent survey of 2,450 transgender Americans conducted by the National Center for Transgender Equality, transgender people are twice as likely as the general population to be unemployed, four times as likely to live below the poverty level, and more than 90 percent report experiencing discrimination on the job. "But notable strides have been made in the past decade. In 2000, only three Fortune 500 companies included gender identity in their employee nondiscrimination policies. Today, more than 150 do. President Obama appointed a transgender woman, former test pilot Amanda Simpson, as an adviser to the Commerce Department. And there are lobbyists on Capitol Hill working for transgender rights." (Star Tribune)
As Sheridan points out, knowledge about transgender is essential to remove the fear that results in discrimination; "Once they have the information, all of a sudden the fear goes away and they say, 'Oh, well, these are just human beings, I can deal with that'" (Star Tribune). Please help spread the information by sharing these news.